Although they came to be known as the earliest studs and leather Metal icons, JUDAS PRIEST weren't always that way, especially with their initial brand of Metal. JUDAS PRIEST's starting grip of rock was not mired in post psychedelic meandering like so many other contemporary bands like Styx or ELO (and by the way let those who always talk of them with IRON MAIDEN remember their first album came out six years before MAIDEN's), but took a wide opposite turn, utilizing their blues and rock roots and juicing them up with distortion, power riffs and a strong, dynamic vocalist who never feared reaching into higher keys to mark his territory. In other words, Metal
Taking those qualities and speeding up the rhythms, “Sin After Sin” contains all the elements of why many consider JUDAS PRIEST the first complete Metal band. Most of the songs were more acerbic and heavier than their previous two albums, "Sad Wings OF Destiny" and "Rocka Rolla". The title and opening track is a classic example of a band forcing their angrier tendencies in your face right off the bat. A double bass foundation through the chorus gives the song a driving feel to the track, which coupled with Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing’s guitar wailing has a prescience and more importantly, a template for Metal to come years later. Other tracks such as “Call For The Priest/Raw Deal,” the slow but crushing “Here Come The Tears” and the seminal “Dissident Aggressor,” set the bar for Heavy Metal bands in the early 80’s. The band were even able to take a rather odd choice for a cover song, Joan Baez’s “Diamonds And Rust” and beef it up so well it sounds completely original and one well placed in the halls of Metal
Now, there is one of the most serene songs any Metal band has ever recorded in “Last Rose Of Summer” on the album. A slow and extremely melodic ballad, it is nonetheless a very good song by itself. However, it does feel out of place on the album, disrupts the flow of “Sin After Sin” and is the one blip on an otherwise sensational album.
One note regarding “Sin After Sin” I think worth noting is that JUDAS PRIEST utilized the superb drumming skills of Simon Philips (TOTO, many studio sessions) on the album. Philips is a technical wizard on the skins and palpably enhances the vigor of the album in numerous ways. The band tried to persuade Philips to join the band on tour and perhaps join them permanently. Unfortunately he did not, but he was a part of a tremendously influential Metal release in “Sin After Sin,” and any Metal lover and historian doesn’t have a complete collection without it. (Online April 21, 2005)